Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Teen Titans #1 Review and **SPOILERS**
Story & Visuals: Benjamin Percy & Jonboy Meyers
Color: Jim Charalampidis
Letters: Corey Breen
Cover: Jonboy Meyers
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: October 26, 2016
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
The moment we’ve all been waiting for: a cleanly-wiped slate upon which to build a new Teen Titans. Sort of. I mean, Beast Boy is carried over, but he was never the sticking point of the team’s New 52 iteration. And Raven is the same character, but she lost her dumb Big Bird costume and hopefully her perma-scowl. But the others haven’t been on the Teen Titans since 2011, and this means this series has one of my favorite qualities in a comic book: potential! Ben Percy has been doing a bang-up job on Green Arrow and I love the artwork of Jonboy Meyers, so we have every reason to feel positive as we dive into my review of Teen Titans #1!
In case you didn’t feel like reading the Rebirth issue, Damien Wayne captured Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven and Kid Flash by turning their own proclivities against them, which involved zapping, primarily. Turns out he was inspired to do so by turning thirteen years old—becoming an actual teenager for crying out loud. What happened to my pumpkin-headed little boy! He’s growing up so fast! Swiftly flow the years! Anyway, Bruce wasn’t on hand to celebrate his son Damien’s birthday, because he’s sort of an obsessed creep don’tchaknow, but he does get a mystery gift that seems to be what prompted him to gather these characters in the first place. Now, just like at the end of the Rebirth issue, they’re all held in that stasis field from the Incredibles while Damian monologues about what a bright guy he is, and introduces them to his deformed man-bat Goliath. Starfire gets madder than Jim Werner at a tech convention, and uses her natural strength to bust out of the device, freeing everyone and indicating that a major ass-whupping is about to go down.
Starfire straight up whaps Damian against a wall with one of her energy blasts, while Beast Boy, in giant gorilla form, goes after Goliath, who easily punches him across the cave. Beast Boy turns into a tiny octopus and lands on Kid Flash’s shoulders, and they have an interaction that really, really sounded like a good portent y’all, like this is the kind of dialogue we’ve been waiting to read. Raven pops over and knocks Goliath out with a sleepy spell, and then Damian Wayne is all slow clapping like everything is going precisely according to plan when he explains that they proved that they are stronger as a team—and would be strongest under his tutelage! And this was such a stupid 13 year-old way to go about things, I love it: unable to hold a normal conversation, this dork kidnaps everyone and expects them to respect his prowess, instead of trying to build real friendships. I think these voices are pitch perfect and I am really excited for this series!
Despite the fact that Starfire really beat his ass single-handedly, the gang decides they might try getting together—particularly since Damian points out they are being targeted for execution! The last bit is a cut back to Damian’s mystery gift at his birthday party: a note from his grandfather Ra’s Al Ghul exhorting him to return to the League of Assassins—or die! There’s also a dead robin bird in the box, which is a really fucked up thing to get from your grandfather. I mean, either he’s a world-class asshole or he’s suffering severe dementia and thinks he’s a house cat. In the epilogue, we see that Al Ghul has assembled a team that I won’t even bother revealing since we’re sure to see them again soon.
I feel like an abused spouse, so tentatively enjoying this issue but fearful for another nightmare run like those we were subjected to over the past five years. At face value, this was a really enjoyable, well paced and terrifically characterized, developing some immediate team rapport as well as a reason they’ve all been called to order. I love the work of Jonboy Meyers, it reminds of graffiti, and I’m sorry that he won’t be remaining with the series indefinitely. But if the writing stays of this caliber and everything remains reasonably friendly, then I bet I’ll be reading this for a long while.
Bits and Pieces:
The team has been assembled and things are looking good! Everyone's character, particularly Damian's, seems on-point, and their interactions are pleasant. Yes, a team of heroes that enjoy each other's company! Is that too much to ask? I think the artwork is awesome, but it is something you either appreciate or you don't. All together, this makes for a very promising Teen Titans package that makes me want to read more.